Religion News Service reports on an interesting recent survey in which people were asked about the purported conflict between religious liberty and civil rights for LGBT Americans.
The short version? Most Americans oppose religious exemptions to LGBT non-discrimination laws.
- 71 percent– including majorities in all 50 states and 30 major metropolitan areas — support laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination in jobs, housing and public accommodations.
- 59 percent oppose allowing small-business owners in their state to refuse service to gay and lesbian people, if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs.
- 53 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, compared with 37 percent (including most evangelical Protestants and Mormons) who oppose it.
Even among groups opposed to same-sex marriage, support for protection from discrimination crosses all “partisan, religious, geographic, and demographic lines,” according to Public Religion Research Institute CEO Robert P. Jones.
The survey results demonstrate something that many of us have suspected: opposition to civic equality for LGBT folks is not coming primarily from religious denominations or organizations. (Click through to see the breakdown.) Anti-gay bias is primarily a political position, not a religious one, and the difference between the political parties is stark: the survey found that 74 percent of Democrats but only 40 percent of Republicans support civil rights protections for LGBT citizens.
Of course, that’s little comfort for those of us who live in blue cities located in bright red states like Indiana.
In our gerrymandered state, it would take a lot of organization, a lot of energy, and a truly superior “get out the vote” effort even to reduce the legislative super-majority enjoyed by the GOP. But those of us who disapprove of the legislature’s failure to add four words and a comma to the state’s civil rights law—and those of us embarrassed by our Governor’s homophobic and theocratic impulses—do have the opportunity to send a very clear message to the political establishment by decisively defeating Governor Pence this November.
Unlike the majority of religious folks, Mike Pence hasn’t come to terms with social progress. It isn’t just LGBT Hoosiers; his views on education, the environment and women are wildly at odds with the views of most of our citizens. His disinterest in the nitty-gritty of governing, and the damage he’s done to the state’s business climate, make him eminently beatable.
Maybe we can’t stop the world to let him off—but we can retire him and get on with the business of making Indiana a state that welcomes everyone.